January 25, 2015

Online Mental Health Treatments

The internet as a mental health advisor in Germany--results of a national survey.
BACKGROUND: The Internet constitutes a popular source of health information. However, the use of the Internet and other modern media in the domain of mental health remains widely unclear.

QUESTION: are people ready to seek mental health information online, and make use of online counseling and media-assisted psychotherapy?

METHODS: A representative survey of  2411 Germans was conducted.

  • Greater than a fourth of Germans surveyed would consider seeking help online in case of mental health problems, primarily by using the Internet to do research and by participating in online forums. 
  • A small number of those surveyed had already used online counseling. 
  • Most did not know about the availability of online counseling. 
  • Willingness to use online counseling in the future was moderate, with most showing a clear preference towards face-to-face treatment. 
CONCLUSION: It is likely that there will be an increasing demand for media-assisted psychological counseling and interventions. The health care system should prepare for this change and enlighten patients concerning the possibilities and potential risks of online mental health treatments.
PLoS One. 2013;8(11):e79206